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Tampa woman accused of drowning daughter in river deemed competent

Hillsborough County
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Tampa woman, Shakayla Denson has been deemed competent to stand trial by state medical examiners. Denson is accused of drowning her daughter in the Hillsborough River last August. 

Shakayla Denson was ruled incompetent last year to stand trial and the case couldn’t continue until she got mental treatment. But now she’s back in the county jail ahead of Friday’s court hearing.

Court documents indicate doctors finished an evaluation and could have an update on the case Friday. 

Police Chief Brian Dugan called the whole thing “tragic, chaotic, and unbelievable.”

Witnesses saw Denson steal a car from a car lot and shoved her daughter Je’Hyrah into the back seat. 

Police say Denson then drove to the river, dragged her screaming daughter out of the car and walked into the water. 

Witnesses say they also saw Denson pull Je’Hyra in for a hug and release her daughter into the water before turning and walking away. 

Denson’s public defenders asked a judge Friday to have the original doctors re-examine her. The judge agreed. The findings are to be turned in on June 21.

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